Khaomanee cats

Khaomanee means "white jewel". Some texts refer peripherally to an "all-white" cat called Khao Plord, but with no mention of eye colour, so "Khaomanee" with its odd eyes appears to have been developed independently of the poems, but is nonetheless a popular Thai cat.


White in the temple

I was originally alerted to the existence of Wat Thong Noppakhun by a Thai TV programme by Kantana, "First Sight of Life". This maintained the white cat in the mural at Wat Thong Noppakhun was valid historical evidence for the Khaomanee cat. Looking at it closely, the cat clearly has blue eyes, so there probably were real white cats around at the time, but whether yellow-eyed or odd-eyed as well, we don't know.

Khaomanee kitsch

A Khaomanee cat, in heart collar, buttoned white shirt and blue trews, was chosen as the mascot for the 16th Transplant Games held in Bangkok in 2007, for athletes who have received organ transplants. Here's a small cuddly version and a lapel pin version.

Namdee Witta's Khaomanee Museum

For many years, these signs to “Royal Cats (Dimond-Eye [sic]) Park” were a distinctive landmark on the main road West out of Bangkok to Nakhon Pathom. The red sign was viewable from the east and the blue sign was viewable from the west. Namdee Witta here showed Khaomanee cats in gilded cages that were ostensibly descended from 18 cats belonging to his mother that were favourites of King Rama V*. However, the museum now appears to have disappeared, at a guess, affected by the severe flooding of late 2011.

Clay Khaomanee

This lifesized clay representation of a Khaomanee came from a cat show at Fashion Island many moons ago. At the time, the Siamese, Copper and Korat were all represented.

Rose Garden show

December 15, 2012 was the date for this show at the Rose Garden in Nakhon Pathom, known to Thais as Suan Sam Pran after the town where it is. The show itself is a huge agricultural and livestock fair of which the cat show was but a small part, and I was alerted to it by Stephane Montelheit. Khun Istzy’s Khaomanee was grand champion.

One of the entrants, holding her Copper.

Siamese.

Copper.

The winners: Including K Istzy (2nd from left) and his partner (far right, holding champion Khaomanee)

Interesting standee of the Tamra Maew with images taken from the cremation volume of Somdet Phra Puttajan*

Another standee about the fame of Thai cats.

Khun Saipin from CFCT, here encouraging the support of stray cat shelters with a rescued tortoiseshell.

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All text and photos © Martin Clutterbuck 2012-3, unless otherwise indicated.

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